When Alan Mulally arrived at Ford Motor Company three years ago, the Blue Oval was in bad shape. New product wasn't exactly pouring in and the company's cash hoard was steadily shrinking. And word on the street is that the corporate culture at Ford was in as much trouble as the product lineup, making change difficult. Now in 2009, it appears Mulally has done the near impossible, turning around Ford's product lineup while supposedly positively altering FoMoCo's corporate culture.
2010 Ford Fiesta – Click above for high-res image gallery
On the surface, at least, news that a company lost $1.4 billion wouldn't normally be greeted as good news by Wall Street. However, the Ford Motor company's just-published quarterly earning reports have done just that, with the stock trading 15% ahead of yesterday and the entire Dow Jones stock market perking up at the news.
Ford Chief Financial Officer Don Leclair has decided to hang up his spreadsheets after an illustrious career at the Blue Oval. Leclair worked at Ford for 32 years and has held the top financial post there since 2003. Succeeding Leclair will be Ford of Europe President Lewis Booth. Booth has helped lead Ford's positive transformation in Europe and grow Mazda's success around the world, which are probably Ford's two largest successes of the past decade. Excruciatingly tough times in North America
Joe Laymon isn't on the short list of successors for Ford CEO Alan Mulally, and it's unlikely you've ever heard of him, but if you want to get to the top at the Blue Oval, this is the guy you stop by Starbucks for on the way to work. Laymon is in charge of keeping a list of internal candidates ready in the event Mulally retires (or quits, is fired or for some other reason exits his position), which could come as soon as 2011 when he turns 65.
Ford of Europe chairman Lewis Booth confirmed today that the next-generation Ford Fiesta for the European market will be brought to us folks in small car-starved North America. In truth, we're not actually starved for small cars in North America, we're just starved for good small cars like the Ford Fiesta and other European B-class models. The current model is well received in its native market, while the next generation model will be based off of the same platform used by the new John Neff
Not long after we told you about the likely promotion of Derrick Kuzak to the role of global Car Czar, President and CEO of Ford Alan Mulally officially announced his corporate realignment plan. At the top of the pyramid is, of course, Mulally himself. Reporting to him are the leaders of Ford's three largest units: Mark Fields, Ford of the Americas; Lewis Booth, Ford of Europe and the Premier Auto
Although Ford has recently confirmed that Aston Martin is up for sale, they made a point of saying today that the rest of its premium brands, are not. Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo are not part of the fire sale at Ford just yet. With the new, almost-as-sexy-as-an-Aston XK coupes and convertibles starting to find their way into dealerships, Jaguar in particular is looking good for the time being, despite being one of the biggest financial thorns in Ford's side.
If Lewis Booth, Ford's chief in Europe and head of its Premier Automotive Group, is right, then TerraPass and other carbon offset programs are way ahead of the curve. Booth, speaking at the British motor show, said that in the next 10 to 15 years consumers will track their carbon footprint as well as they watch their bank statements today. Knowing this number means people will make lifestyle changes, Booth said.
Besides new concept and production car introductions, there's always plenty of news at major shows, and Geneva isn't turning out to be any differently.